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Boeing and the US Navy are to demonstrate advanced missile technologies that will enhance carrier-based strike missions well into the next decade, the company announced on 20 October. Boeing has been awarded a $30 million (€25.7 million) USN contract to co-develop the Supersonic Propulsion-Enabled Advanced Ramjet (SPEAR) flight demonstrator with the Navy’s Air Warfare Center Weapons Division.

The SPEAR flight demonstrator will provide the F/A-18 SUPER HORNET and carrier strike group with significant improvements in range and survivability against advanced threat defensive systems,” commented Steve Mercer, Boeing’s SPEAR Programme Manager. “We have a talented team of engineers to meet the challenging technical demands and schedule timeline that the SPEAR programme requires.”

The team plans to fly SPEAR in late 2022. Prior Boeing successes in supersonic and hypersonic technologies include the X-51 WAVERIDER test vehicle in 2010 and the Variable Flow Ducted Rocket propulsion system under the Triple Target Terminator programme in 2014.

The X-51A WAVERIDER programme is proof of Boeing’s credentials in developing supersonic and hypersonic missile technologies. (Photo: USAF)

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